I told you a while back how I was literally sitting on my hands to keep from starting school too early with Jesse. I want, above all, to teach him to love learning so I didn’t want to push him too soon. It was hard when a lot of my friends were starting their first year of school with their eldest, and I was still waiting until I felt Jesse was ready – maybe next year sometime.
Then two – no, three – things happened.
1. Life began to gain some routine and predictablitity after Seth’s birth.
2. Jesse began daily complaining of being bored, and
3. I found free online preschool curriculum!
That’s it, I said. We’re starting school.
And we are having so much fun. This site has a curriculum with weekly themes, learning a shape, a color, a number, and a letter each week. (So, “A”, “square”, “Green” and “1″ for the first week, with a theme of “cows”.) There are links to printable coloring pages and fun cut and paste projects, as well as poems and some recommended books to go with each week’s theme. At this site I found a more extensive collection of coloring pages and printouts to choose from.
We start the week introducing our theme and a new vocabulary word or two. Then I just look around the house for activities, songs, books, puzzles, toys, and objects that go with the theme. We usually do a coloring page each day, maybe the letter of the week, or something to do with the theme. I might find a YouTube video to illustrate something (Like, “how to milk a cow”)
Our second week the theme was “Jungle”. I was amazed at how much stuff I found among toys and puzzles that went with the them!. We made a Jungle Animal Parade, and talked about the different features God gave the animals to hide and hunt and climb and eat in the jungle -like spots, long necks, and trunks and tails – while we colored our coloring page.
Of course, Claire loves being a part of it all and always wants a coloring page when I print one for Brother.
On Tuesdays we visit the Library and I scan the shelves for books that match the “theme”. This is so fun and easy! Then we go home and have a pile of fun, exciting new books to read that reinforce the new vocabulary words and inspire creative artwork and imaginative play.
Jesse loves his Melissa and Doug Jungle Puzzle, and it went with the theme!
I’m so grateful for the resources free online and at the library so I can start school with Jesse without spending a dime on curriculum. My personal opinion on preschool is that you don’t need curriculum at this age – the stuff they learn in preschool can be absorbed through everyday-interaction if the parents are aware and involved. But I wanted to practice fitting in a scheduled learning time in my day, so I wouldn’t be so intimidated by the idea of making time in my schedule when we start kindergarten next year. We now spend 30 min. to an hour each morning with our focused learning time – as long as our attention spans last – as well as talking about the concepts and theme all through the day.
And Jesse loves it. I no longer hear “Mom, me not know what to do – me bored!” thanks to the focused activities and attention he receives during school. He starts each day asking “What we gonna do for school?” and at least once a day we hear, from a satistfied little boy, “Me LIKE school!”
That’s the goal, and that’s my boy.